Red-Eye Twin review in Fretboard Journal:

Red-Eye Twin review in Fretboard Journal:

Some Comments from Red-Eye Preamp Users... 


The Red-Eye Preamp is a revelation! I had gotten used to the idea that when I play my fiddle through an amp, it should sound "boxed in" - I didn't really expect to hear the acoustic qualities of my instrument. However, the first time I swapped my old preamp for the Red-Eye, the sound immediately opened up and the full character came through in a way I didn't realize was possible. Hearing the full character of my fiddle on stage makes the entire instrument feel more responsive, makes me more confident about what the audience is hearing, and makes me a better player. You've got a great product - I spread the word about the Red-Eye everywhere I play!

-Drew Shafer, violin and voice - 2nd Day Red

After listening to the common Fishman setups for so long and asking "Is that a keyboard or an acoustic instrument?", I have been on a quest to get a more natural sounding acoustic guitar sound live. I used my LR BAGGS D.I. and was never happy with the sound I was getting. For one thing the EQ scoop got rid of a lot of frequency and overtones that make an acoustic guitar sound natural and pretty. After Daren turned me on to the Red-Eye Preamp, my problems have been solved, no more scooped EQ and 15 confusing knobs to turn just to tweek up a good sound, you can literally plug and play. If you are looking for a great sounding D.I. this is the absolute best I have heard. The adjustable volume Boost Button is great for lead players and the "Treble" E.Q. knob allows the frequencies to really open up for mandolins, fiddles etc. The preamp's Effects Loop is also pretty handy for running your tuner or other pedals.

-Robert Socia, acoustic guitar and voice - Robert Socia Band

I've received more compliments on my tone since switching to the Red-Eye Preamp than ever before. Audiences and professional sound crews agree that the Red-Eye is beyond compare. It is affordable, light weight, and compact. The Red-Eye is a must for any acoustic musician.

-Warren Hood , violin, mandolin, guitar and voice - The Hoodlums, The Waybacks

The Red-Eye Preamplifier is the most reliable and user-friendly preamp I have ever used. It consistently delivers night after night with great tone and easy set up.

-Brian Beken, violin and mandolin - Milkdrive, The Gougers, South Austin Jug Band

I love the Red-Eye Preamplifier. It provides a clean, clear, sound in a conveniently compact, reliable, package. It’s easy to carry and connect — great for those gigs that require fast setup. Designed and hand wired right here in the USA — a great, professional, piece of gear that I’ve come to rely on.

-Paul Glasse, mandolin

The Red-Eye is a great-sounding Preamp, as good as any I've heard in its price range. It's really easy to use and adjust. It's tank-like and compact in construction. Plus it's the only acoustic preamp to incorporate a volume boost stomp button, which makes it totally unique while costing about the same as a Baggs or Fishman Preamp. My whole band uses Red-Eye Preamps and we all love 'em.

-Brian Hudson, acoustic guitar - The Hudsons, The Nasty Clan

Frank Devine: "I exclusively perform finger-style traditional jazz on a custom made resonator guitar...

[A Letter from Aunt Ruby's Sweet Jazz Babies]

Before buying a Red-Eye Preamp I started noticing the SOUND my friends in Austin were getting. I would do gigs with them and I sounded like I had brought a knife to a gunfight. Down on the floor, every one of them had a Red-Eye. I'm talking guitar players, bass players, fiddle players, they all had them and they all had better TONE than I was getting. I WAS SOLD. It fit nicely in my case and I have used it on both acoustic guitar and electric bass. Daren you have built one fine little unit!

-Steve Carter, acoustic guitar and electric bass - Steve performs with: Stop The TruckThe Mau Mau Chaplains, Tony Airoldi, Ruby Jane Smith, Freddy Powers, Sonny Throckmorton, Ala/Miss/Fla, and Merry-Go-Round and he publishes with Coinhead Music Studios.

With it's simple design and ability to capture a tone true to the instrument, the Red-Eye Preamp really is an extraordinary tool.

-Christian McAdams, mandolin - The Lost Pines

I’m a big fan of simplicity. And that’s the Red–Eye Preamp in a nutshell...the simplest way to get sound from your instrument into a PA system. It doesn’t have a bunch of EQ controls (although the treble control has come in handy a couple of times). But it doesn’t need them. All you have to do is plug in and your instrument sounds great. Also, the boost is great for making your solos pop or for adding a bit of volume when you’re finger-picking.

-Hudson Mueller, acoustic guitar - The Hudsons, The Nasty Clan, Gold Magnolias

The Red-Eye Preamp is my favorite new find! Great plug-n-play sound for most acoustic instruments, cutting out problem frequencies and with the added treble knob and boost it works great for anyone needing great portable professional sound.

-Noah Jeffries, acoustic guitar - Milkdrive

Daren, I love the tone and ease of operation with the Red-Eye Preamp. Thanks for making a great sounding, affordable and compact unit. It fits in my case right next to my tuner. The boost comes in real handy on solos. Especially when you sound check and think you are loud enough till the whole band starts in.

-Rick McRae, electric and acoustic guitar - Ace in the Hole, Lone star Swing, Riff Riders

I've tried several preamps with my Fishman V101 pickup, but the results were always very trebly and required numerous preamp knobs to be set just right in order to get a good sound. With the Red-Eye Preamp, the input impedance is so sky high that the pickup actually behaves, and the single tone knob (only one setting to remember!) gets the tone right every time. The stomp-box Boost feature is sweet for adding a few dB to cut through for a solo. The case, components and overall design are very "old school" (in my book, that's a big compliment): they are extremely stout and will probably outlive me. "The search" for a good preamp is over.

-David Nelson, fiddle - Pleasant Grove Swing Band

Before I started using the Red-Eye Preamp, I had no idea that there could be a preamplifier that boosts your solos. When Daren introduced me to his Red-Eye, I couldn't believe it! Immediately after using it, I discovered that it gives a great, clean fiddle tone, while boosting the volume on your solos! It's very difficult to find a preamp that maintains the beautiful tone that you get from an acoustic violin. Well, the Red-Eye does it! I am more than happy with this incredible preamp! And its so simple to use as well! I will never go back to a regular DI box again! And sound guys love it because its so simple! I'm tellin ya, the Red-Eye is the preamp to have!

- RuBy JaNe Smith :), violin, mando, guitar and voice - The Ruby Jane Show 

For anyone who's looking for great sound quality, portability, and simplicity, you have definitely come to the right place. The Red-Eye Preamp is a must have for any recording or performing musician/artist that wants a better, more "authentic" sound out of their instrument. The first time that my band and I used Red-Eye Preamps at a live show there was an immediate and gratifying result that I knew was going to last. Scores of audience members, the sound engineer, and especially my fellow band mates could hear a drastic change in our music for an overall more superior sound. I have seen and heard the Red-Eye Preamp work with great efficiency for fiddles (violins/violas), guitars, upright and electric basses, mandolins, banjos, keys, cellos and I will continue hearing exceptional music with a higher quality all thanks to the Red-Eye Preamp. I love my Red-Eye Preamp and you will too!

-Ian Stewart, violin, mandolin and voice - The Fire AntsSweet Bunch Of Daisies

The Red-Eye Preamp is easy to use, and sounds great! I've played guitar and bass guitar through it and the tone is unbeatable. For a long time I was never able to get a tone that I really liked (I just fiddle with the nobs, and hope luck is on my side that day) but I have found that with the Red-Eye I don't really need to do anything for my guitar to sound exactly how I like it. And for bass...Wow! The notes are very clear, without being clanky. This preamp is the real deal.

-Zeke Jarmon, guitar, bass and voice - The Fire Ants, Stomping Grounds, Randolph Mantooth

I just wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying using the Red-Eye Preamp. I've tried a number of other boxes over the years, but yours is the first one I've ever actually liked the sound of. Now I can get even with all those guitar players - crank it up!

-Paul Sweeney, mandolin

The Red-Eye Preamp the is cleanest sounding and most portable acoustic direct box I have ever used. Love the treble knob to cut out that annoying high end shrill that a lot of acoustic pick-ups produce. Great product!

-Dennis Ludiker, violin and mandolin - Milkdrive

Before using the Red-Eye Preamp, I found myself searching for a preamp that would allow me to boost my fiddle sound while maintaining the tone quality. The Red-Eye not only gives me the capability to boost for solos, but also to cut back on the shrill high sounds at gigs where the fiddle tone is really harsh. Plus, it is extremely easy to travel with the Red-Eye, it fits right in my fiddle case!

-Phoebe Hunt, violin and voice - Belleville Outfit

Phoebe Hunt from the Belleville Outfit turned me on to your Red-Eye Preamp. They played this week in Felton, CA near Santa Cruz. As the sound person for the show they did at Don Quixote's, I was very impressed. I've been doing sound since the mid '70s and I have to tell you the interface with her violin and the house system was flawless and fantastic. I like the acoustic stuff a lot, and dialing in a violin can be tricky sometimes. The combo of her pick-up and your unit made things sound wonderful.

-Greg Arrufat, sound

I never knew a fiddle could sound so good. I'll be honest. For 5 years I've been using a pretty crummy old fiddle that I stuck a Baggs pick-up on, and when I use the Red-Eye Preamp, the violin is transformed into an entirely different instrument. This appliance erradicates the screechy treble range that gives fiddles a bad name! I had the maker of the preamp, Daren Appelt, attach a mute button so that I can tune without being heard, (or surrepticiously decipher the key of the song the band is playing) and I use the adjustable boost button to solo. I love that this rig fits in my violin case. I never leave home without it!

-Leah Zeger, violin and voice -Austin Symphony, The Hudsons, Strings Attached, Sweet Bunch Of Daisies

Clean, transparent and musical with plenty of headroom - that's the Red-Eye Preamp. It's my go-to box for any instrument with a piezo pickup.

-Jeffrye Glenn Tveraas, acoustic guitar

I had been working on getting a good sound for my mandolin for quite a while. I used a fishman M300 pick-up, liked it far better than the 200. The piezo is in the bottom piece of the bridge, picking up on body vibration as well as the strings? Anyway, tried a good quality Fishman pre-amp and was not satisfied at all. Then on a chat site I read about the Red-Eye Preamp from a good source and desided to talk to Daren about it. He offered me a no-nonsense money-back guarantee and warranty that will last longer than my t-shirt collection! I like someone who believes in what they do and puts there money where there mouth is. It surpassed expectations. The sound is fantastic, real. Balanced output, jacks for effects and the Red-Eye Boost Button, essential for solos. It is built as solid as a tank and very portable. BATTERIES INCLUDED!

-James Jones, Canada-Mandolin, Vocal, Sax and controlled insanity - Emerson Lake and Palmer Rapids

I finally got my little Crate TX30E Battery-Powered Amp fixed today. I hooked up first straight from the banjo with McIntyre pickup to the amp. It sounded fair, but more like a guitar than a banjo, and distorted in the high notes.

Then I hooked up your Red-Eye Preamp and it sound perfect! I used an unbalanced XLR cable from the preamp's XLR output to the amp since I only had one 1/4" to 1/4" cable. Banjos are notoriously hard to amplify well (mic or pickup) but this did the trick. I'll be using it later today at a gig for the first time!

-Chuck Middleton, bluegrass banjo

I am so pleased to comment on my Red-Eye Preamp. I use the Red-Eye for my Guitar and it produces the cleanest most efficient sound of any of the many preamps I've used in the past. It's simple, small, and very cost efficient. Great when traveling by air when every piece of space and weight matters! Great work in the development of the Red-Eye!!!

-Danny Britt, acoustic guitar and voice -Singer/Songwriter, Austin

When I first plugged my mandolin into the Red-Eye Preamp and played through our sound system my wife thought I had purchased a new instrument. The sound was that much improved from what I was able to achieve before when trying to amplify the Mando. The Red-Eye produces a very clean sound, much closer to the actual acoustic sound of my mandolin than anything tried before. The treble adjustment gives added options for improving sound quality. A very efficient unit.

-Randy Frazier, Mandolin


I used the Red-Eye Preamp for my violin along with the Barbera Transducer together. The combination worked great. I was shocked by the great sound being produced by it since the clip-on I was using wasn’t working well before. Both systems do the job really well.

-Rodrigo Gomez, violin - Bandleader, Lost Gomez del Norte

Well, all I can say is, “Thank goodness for clean-boost pedals,” and my current favorite for walloping the front end of my AC30 is the USA-made Bright-Eye Clean Boost/Buffer ($155 street). This mini pedal takes up precious little real estate on my pedal-board, it delivers up to 20dB of boost with its adjustable Boost Volume knob, a Shaped Mode decreases highs if my boosted tone gets too sizzle-y (there’s also a Flat Mode), and the photocell-controlled footswitch is dead quiet.
— Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief - Guitar Player Magazine, April 7th, 2017